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Scott Steepleton, Editor
5:49 pm PST January 25, 2021

Restaurants in Malibu will be able to offer outdoor dining again starting later this week, after Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday lifted his statewide regional stay-at-home order.

That order split the state into five regions and based public activity on one measure — ICU capacity.

Monday’s change of course returns the state to Newsom’s four-tier Blueprint For a Safer Economy. Most counties, including Los Angeles, are in the most restrictive (purple) tier, which means a “return to normal” is far off.

However, the move switches the responsibility of determining which businesses open and what services they can provide back to the counties.

Salons, barber shops and other “personal services” may also now open, with restrictions, after being shut down by the regional order, which went into effect a month ago.

The move comes as the governor faces a recall campaign tied to his handling of the pandemic, which has claimed more than 15,260 lives in Los Angeles County over the past year, including six in Malibu.

Organizers of the recall over the weekend announced they’d collected 1.2 million of the 1.5 million signatures needed to place the matter on the ballot.

Under pressure for this and other reasons, including an admission by state officials that releasing the measurements used to determine when the regional order would be lifted would confuse and mislead the public, Newsom on Monday rescinded his order.

Within hours, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis said, “Los Angeles will essentially align with the state by the end of the week.”

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer soon added that limited outdoor dining could resume on Friday. This is great news for businesses that have, in some cases, spent thousands of dollars to turn parking lots, sidewalks and other adjacent areas into outdoor dining spaces.

In November, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 against a motion to keep in place outdoor dining with restrictions. Malibu’s representative, Sheila Kuehl, was among the majority, saying outdoor dining is dangerous. Hours later, before the ban took effect, Kuehl went to her favorite restaurant in Santa Monica for an outdoor dinner.

Ferrer on Monday said she thinks the tide has turned on members of the public not taking into account others during this crisis.

“We’re all, like, ready to do this together and do this better than before,” she said.